With all the news India is making — you will be surprised how the others (at large) still percieve India. In the last five years that I’ve been globetrotting, I’ve encountered and (answered) some of the silliest to some of the most intelligent questions —

q) Where did you learn English? You speak it so well!
a) In school. We do have english schools in Bombay.

q) I’ve heard there are cows on your roads?
a) Yes. We pride on letting our cows roam on the roads.

q) Now, what do young people do in Bombay?
a) What they do in every other city — chill out, go clubbing, go drinking, date, you get the picture?

q) How is that people stay with their parents forever! Even after they are married…Do they ever move out?
a) Moving out of the parents home is not a concept in India. Indian families are a lot like Italian and Greek families in that matter. In Bombay though I’ve heard of young men and women moving out and renting their own place.

q) Do you own an elephant?
a) No. Nor do we go to schools on elephants. The Little Princess was only a story. :-)

q) How come Indians are either engineers, doctors or tech-people?
a) Yes. Indians have chosen more stable career options for reasons of steady employments and salaries. Also previously there weren’t many options available in India. However, that is changing now and you are just as likely to meet an Indian musician or an Indian opera singer as any other!

q) Why are your Bollywood movies so far-fetched and outrageously impractical ?
a) Until a few years ago, the only purpose of Bollywood movies was to entertain. They provided the fantastical three hours of bliss away from the actualities and realities. The color, the foreign locations, the clothes, the luxurious characters coupled with music and dances was the gateway for majority Indians who would never in a lifetime see anything like it in reality.
But —
With the recent strides in India’s economy, the quality of Bollywood movies has improved. Now, the masses don’t go to theaters to simply “get away” from their lives. As lives get more bearable and hopeful — Bollywood movies become more focussed and real. Homosexuality, patriotism, live-in relationahips — are some of the recent issues addressed by Bollywood movies.

But hey– what’s a Bollywood movie with the outrageous colors and the dancing, eh? But on a serious note, expect more quality from Bollywood. And please don’t let movies like Bride and Prejudice and Bend it like Beckham be your only insight into Bollywood!

q) Do women in Bombay wear short clothes?
A) You’ll be surprised to see what women in Bombay wear ;-) We Bombay women, are one of the best-dressed. I mean it!

q) You have a cook and domestic labor. You must be rich!
a) Most middle-class families in Bombay can afford domestic labor.

q) I’ve always wanted to go to Bombay! When is a good time to go?
a)Bombay’s heat can be intense for some- especially if you aren’t used to the humidity. I’d say November – February is the best time to visit Bombay. The weather is slightly cooler. Personally, I love the monsoons and plan my trip to co-incide with the rains.

Do you have any questions? It’s okay if they sound stupid to you :-) We are all guilty of ignorance. (I once asked a New Yorker if they always walk as though their pants are on fire. Obviously, got only a glare in return) Leave them here, and although I’m not any official authority on Bombay, I’ll do my best to satisfy your curiosity.

1 Comment so far

  1. KDS (unregistered) on February 25th, 2006 @ 6:04 pm

    You know, as far as the cook and domestic labour goes, wht they need to b informed is tht we’re not too rich, but theose labourers r too poor. I read a question in an encyclopaedia that said: Does it mean yes or no when you shake your head from side to side in India? And the answer was ‘it means yes’
    That one for me takes the cake.

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